Lorraine was originally a kingdom in its own right. It was created in 843 when the Carolingian empire was divided between the three sons of Louis the Pious. Named after the new ruler, the Emperor Lothar, it was called "Lotharingia." In France, this evolved into "Lorraine", while in Germany, it was eventually known as "Lothringen."
With the loss of the imperial title and the waning of Carolingian influence, the kingdom lost territories and came under the rule of a duke, thereby reducing the former kingdom to a duchy.
In 1766 Lorraine was reorganized by the French government.
Lorraine, together with Alsace was annexed by Germany after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. It remained a part of Germany until the end of World War I, and it was again occupied in 1940 during WW2. This war-torn area was finally liberated and returned to France by General Patton and his army in November 1944. Because of all the fighting in the area, Lorraine is home to the largest American cemetery in France.